News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 11, 2011

Symposium to bring together wide variety of creative writers

Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Arts Illiana is planning a creative writing symposium on Dec. 2 and 3 at the Vigo County Public Library.

WordFest: Wabash Valley Creative Writing Symposium will begin on the evening of Dec. 2 with a reception that includes a keynote address entitled “Creative Reading” by the newly appointed Indiana Poet Laureate, Karen Kovacik. Kovacik will begin her tenure in January. She is a native Hoosier, growing up in Highland and has authored four collections of poetry, most recently “Metropolis Burning.” Her work has received numerous honors. She’s a professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where she directs the creative writing program.

In addition to delivering the keynote, Kovacik will read a selection of her poems. The evening will be open to the general public at no cost. Workshop registration is $20, with a $10 registration fee for high school students. Indiana State University, Ivy Tech, Rose-Hulman, and St. Mary-of-the-Woods students’ registration fees will be waived.

Dec. 3 will offer morning and afternoon sessions, and the day will culminate with coffee house-style readings of work by participants.

Presenters and topics include: Matthew Brennan, professor of English, Indiana State University: “The Creative Process: Five Essential Steps to Writing a Good Poem;” Aaron Michael Morales, associate professor of English and women’s studies, Indiana State University: “Digging in the Dirt-Discussion of Setting as Character;” Arthur Feinsod, professor of theater, Indiana State University: “Playwriting Workshop;” Zann Carter, Terre Haute visual and literary artist: “Word Play: Fun and Games — Serious Inspiration Workshop;” Mark Minster, associate professor of English, Rose-Hulman: “Renga: Japanese Linked Verse Poetry Workshop;” Chris Hudson, associate professor and Department of English Chair, SMWC: “Creative Non-fiction Workshop;” Joe Hiland, master’s candidate in Indiana University’s creative writing program: “People Made of Words: Crafting Character in Fiction;” and Dan Gallagher, Effective Writing Center director, University of Maryland University College: “600 Words or Less: A Flash Fiction Workshop.”

Also included in the afternoon session will be a panel discussion on publishing and promoting your work. Morales and Carter will participate on the panel along with Rockville author Jan Tilley and Peggy Tierney, owner of Tanglewood Publishing.

The Wabash Valley has a wealth of creative writers who are actively writing and publishing. Last year, Arts Illiana extended a call for short story fiction that yielded an impressive response. In its inaugural year, the Max Erhmann Poetry contest sponsored by Art Spaces, Inc., had an amazing 422 entries from a six-county area in the Wabash Valley. ISU, Rose-Hulman and St. Mary-of-the-Woods College have excellent creative writing societies or clubs and each publishes a yearly literary magazine of excellent quality.

Including nearby DePauw University, the above-mentioned institutions of higher learning also have excellent literary scholars on faculty who are publishing in a wide variety of literary genres. In spite of the rich literary culture that exists in the Wabash Valley, there is no existing event that brings this talent together to network, share works in progress, or offer professional guidance to emerging writers.

The symposium will be open to anyone. The event hopes to draw a wide variety of creative writers of varied experience and will offer the opportunity for networking, informative workshop and lecture sessions and sharing of work.

Arts Illiana is hopeful this inaugural event will serve as the foundation for an annual creative writing event with the potential to grow and better serve the Valley’s literary constituents living in the region and beyond. The symposium was generated to provide technical assistance to individual artists, a strong component of Arts Illiana’s mission. A portion of the funds from a 2011 technical assistance grant via the Indiana Arts Commission have been devoted to this project. Co-sponsoring the event are the Vigo County Public Library, the Crossroads of Higher Education, Indiana Humanities and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Humanities and Social Sciences Department.

Brochures and registration materials will be available at Arts Illiana, the Vigo County Public Library, and several other venues throughout the Wabash Valley.